Citizens Police Data Project quadruples in size, adding shootings and use of force history
Now contains the oldest electronic disciplinary records available from the Chicago Police Department, dating back to 1967
CHICAGO --Today the Invisible Institute, a journalism production company on the city’s South Side, has quadrupled the size of its public database, the Citizens Police Data Project. The project has expanded to include more than 240,000 misconduct allegations and more than 22,000 individual Chicago Police officers over a 50-year period -- as far back as such electronic disciplinary records exist.
The new searchable records also make public, for the first time, the full names of officers who have fired their weapons. Other critical datasets include officers’ use of force histories, ranks, promotions, commendations, and salary information.
The Citizens Police Data Project is used widely by Chicagoans, lawyers, journalists, academics, legislators and law enforcement officials. It arises out of two watershed events: a landmark court decision in 2014 that made police disciplinary records public in Illinois and a major open records victory in 2016, in which courts rejected the argument of the Fraternal Order of Police that disciplinary records should be destroyed after four years.
More recently, the database has been used to support claims in the class action lawsuit that catalyzed the process that recently resulted in a draft consent decree to govern police reform in Chicago.
“We’ve seen tremendous public benefit from this database,” said Jamie Kalven, founder of the Invisible Institute and the plaintiff of Kalven v. City of Chicago. “The greatly enlarged and enriched data now available will make it even more powerful as a tool for holding law enforcement agencies accountable.”
An initial analysis of the new data has found:
- A small fraction of Chicago’s police force -- only 130 officers -- account for about a third of all incidents of deadly force, as reported in The Intercept today in “The Chicago Police Files.” These officers repeatedly participate in shootings, some as many as six times, whereas more than 99 percent of the police force will never be involved in any such incident over the course of their careers
- Officers with high levels of complaints (at least 10 complaints) generate 64% of all complaints (January 1, 2000 - June 30, 2016 data) on the force. Police officers with the most complaints are less likely to be disciplined.
- From 2000 to 2016, only 1.2% of civilian complaints resulted in an officer being suspended or terminated.
- When citizens file complaints against the police, they are 20 times less likely to be believed than when police officers file complaints against their fellow officers (2000-2016 data).
- Excessive force cases rarely result in discipline. Out of more than 8,700 excessive force claims from January 2007 to June 2016, investigators sustained only 1.5% of cases. Nearly 74% of these cases were filed by African-Americans.
- Racial disparities in use of force have increased over the last decade, even as Chicago’s black population has declined. These disparities are seen even in majority-white areas of the city. Of the five police districts with the highest rates of force against African Americans per African-American resident, four are majority-white districts. African Americans also experience higher rates of force even in low-crime neighborhoods.
- Internal reports show young black men experience Chicago Police use of force far more than white men -- 14 times more often, according to 2005-2015 data -- as reported by The Intercept today. Young black women were also 10 times more likely to experience force as their white female peers and twice as likely as young white men.
- Cliques of misconduct and violence develop within the police department, according to Invisible Institute data published by The Intercept today. Police misconduct spreads within networks of officers as officers are exposed to other officers with higher numbers of complaints.
- Complaints from areas of the city where high portions of the population experience extreme poverty -- where many residents earn less than $1.25 per day -- have a significantly lower likelihood of being sustained.
The new data also reveal alarming trends with respect to domestic violence among police officers. More than 6 percent of all Chicago police officers were accused of physical domestic abuse between 2000 and 2016 (excluding cases where multiple officers were accused or where the officer was unidentifiable). These officers also receive 50% more use of force complaints than their peers, and they receive other complaints of all kinds at a 55% higher rate than fellow officers.
The largest online database of its kind, the Citizens Police Data Project originally launched in November 2015. It was named the winner of the Knight News Challenge on Data in January 2015, the Hillman Foundation’s Sidney Award in December 2015, and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sunshine Award in 2016.
The Invisible Institute is a journalism production company on the South Side of Chicago. Our mission is to enhance the capacity of citizens to hold public institutions accountable. Among the tactics we employ are human rights documentation, investigative reporting, civil rights litigation, the curating of public information, and the orchestration of difficult public conversations. The activities of the Invisible Institute cohere around a central principle: we as citizens have co-responsibility with the government for maintaining respect for human rights and, when abuses occur, for demanding they be addressed.
The Intercept, a publication of First Look Media, was launched in 2014 to provide an outlet for fearless, adversarial journalism. Our reporters have the editorial freedom to hold powerful institutions accountable, digging beneath official narratives to reveal the hidden truth. The Intercept’s award-winning coverage focuses on national security, politics, civil liberties, the environment, technology, criminal justice, media, and more. Regular contributors include co- founding editors Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill.